A woman attends the launching of the show Messi10 by Cirque du Soleil, inspired by the life, values and career of Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in this photo released and distributed to Reuters on August 3, 2023. © Cirque du Soleil/Handout via REUTERS
A Cirque du Soleil production inspired by the life and career of Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi will be staged in Buenos Aires in October, where Argentina’s World Cup glory in Qatar still lives strong.
The performance titled ‘Messi10’, after his favoured jersey number, showcases the rise of the striker from his early childhood in Rosario to his iconic moment as world champion.
“The incredible thing with this show is that the legend is alive, so he had to approve it,” Sean McKeown, artistic director of Cirque du Soleil, told Reuters at the preview show in Buenos Aires.
When the producers presented their plans to Messi, his only suggestion was that his family values were reflected in the final performance.
“There is a number in the show that we call ‘Family’ (…) and it is beautiful because he is a normal person, a very kind guy with his feet on the ground,” McKeown said.
Songs such as the World Cup anthem ‘Muchachos’ by La Mosca will be performed by a cast of 34 acrobats on a stage that replicates a stadium.
Cirque du Soleil first premiered the show in 2019 in Barcelona, where Messi was playing at the time. In recent years, the company has tried to broaden its appeal, moving outside circus acts to performances celebrating music icons and creating immersive experiences with video game partners.
Plans to stage the experience in other locations were postponed due to the pandemic.
“We always had the idea to continue a show about the sports career of a living legend such as Leo,” said Matias Loizaga, executive producer of the show.
Buenos Aires hosts the performance on Oct. 5, and the sporting star is expected to attend.
“There is no better time than now to launch it here,” McKeown said. “The Argentine public is the best place to see it because they will understand it right away.”
Plans to tour Latin America in 2024 are underway, with a date confirmed in the Dominican Republic in April, the company said.
Having long been a role model for youth in both Argentina and around the world, Messi has worked with UNICEF since 2010 and worked with his namesake charity, The Leo Messi Foundation, since 2007 to provide youth around the world with opportunities to achieve their dreams.
“I reached my dream of becoming a footballer and I want you to know that I fought a lot to get there and I have to fight even more to stay,” Messi said of the foundation in 2010. “I want to take advantage of that effort and that success to help children who need it the most, because that is how I have chosen it, because I am moved every day that I get a child to smile, when they think there is hope, when I see that they feel happy.
That is why we decided to create the Leo Messi Foundation. And I will continue fighting to make children happy with the same strength and dedication that I need to continue being a footballer.”